Last Friday, 18 women arrived in Chicago for a very busy 24 hours at the 2014 training event for new synodical treasurers. In the next two years, Women of the ELCA’s 64 synodical treasurers will receive and distribute millions of dollars. These dollars will support Women of the ELCA ministries and a variety of local and national organizations whose work fulfills our mission and purpose.
The Saturday training session began with Bible study. We looked at three stories about Christians sharing money (Acts 4:34-37, Acts 11:27-31, 2 Corinthians 9:1-7) and we asked four questions: Who is giving the money? Who is receiving the money? How is the money being used? Who else is involved?
What we found was impressive. Take, for instance, Acts 11:27-31. Here’s what happens:
After learning about a famine, the disciples in Antioch decide to send relief to Christians in Judea, with whom they had a connection. They coordinate their collection and give the relief to Barnabas and Saul who take it to the elders in Judea, presumably traveling with some assistants. Once received, the elders must have developed some system to distribute it to those in need.
In other words, this donation of famine relief depended on a network of actors. It was not enough that the disciples wanted to help their neighbors and support ministry. It required relationships, organization and skilled individuals.
Today, we have more sophisticated ways of sending money and food, but it still takes organization and relationships. Just think of the last time you wanted to give money to a cause. How did you know where to send it and how much to send? Why did you trust that the person who opened your donation would spend it like you intended?
In the church, we are accustomed to turning over our money to support ministry. When it goes well, when lives are changed because of our gifts, it’s because people manage that money well. It’s because relationships have been built and maintained across the globe so that needs are known and resources are shared. And, it’s because someone is receiving that check or cash, counting it, depositing it, tracking it in the right account and distributing it appropriately
Women of the ELCA is served well by our churchwide treasurer, 64 synodical treasurers, thousands of congregational unit treasurers, and the volunteers who support them. There are thousands more serving as treasurers in ELCA congregations. Will you join me in saying “thank you” to these women and men who faithfully serve so that lives can be changed by your generous donations? Post a comment here letting us know how you are saying thanks.
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.